Where We Belong (A Book Review by Hel from OhSoCleverReads)

Helena sez,

So I read Where We Belong, the newest book by Emily Giffin – the author of Something Borrowed, which was made into a cute film a few years ago.

Let me just say, I am a fan of chick lit. Though it is often awful, it makes me feel happy, and that’s what it’s supposed to do. Which is why I continue to re-read Twilight every year. I have read all of Emily Giffin’s books, and liked them well enough. This one, not so much. Her novels are generally centered by a love story, with other smaller stories surrounding it – friendship, family, mid life crises, yadda yadda.

Where We Belong was different because the central story was of an adopted daughter setting out to find her birth mother and connecting with her “real” family. In the process, the author also develops romantic interests for the daughter, Kirby, and the mother, Marian; we see the female leads interact with their friends – for Kirby, this means petty high schoolers; for Marian, petty up scale New Yorkers; and their respective relationships with their parents: Kirby feels like she doesn’t belong with her family, and Marian has kept here pregnancy and the adoption of her daughter a secret from her father for the past 17 years.

Another difference was the fact that the perspective switched back and forth between the daughter and the mother, and I never felt like I really got a sense of who either of them are. Also, Emily’s attempt to inhabit the mind of a 17 year old social outcast really fell short. Kirby was annoying. Emily tried to make her seem like a musical genius, and through in drum and classical rock references whenever she could, in very contrived ways. Marian was more interesting, perhaps so by default because she is a TV producer living in New York.

I was also left wanting when the two meet for the first time: Kirby shows up on her mothers doorstep after getting access to Marian’s name and address for the first time on her 18th birthday. The scene is mostly written from Kirby’s perspective, and though we do have access to some of Marian’s thoughts and thus know that her emotions are out of control, her actions are far too nonchalant for the situation. Marian invites Kirby in, they go clothing shopping together, eat breakfast, and ignore all deeper issues for the most part.

One thing I liked about the book, and do about all of Giffins novels, is the fact that there are recurring characters. Some of Marian’s friends were the central characters in other novels. Other than that, I can’t really recommend the book.

Read the full blog post (+my reviews) at OhSoCleverReads.


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